Moffitt Cancer Center was awarded a $2.67 million grant from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to study a possible new immunotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. This is one of 10 first-of-its-kind grants being awarded by the SU2C Catalyst program. Under the program, pharmaceutical companies donate funds to support collaborative team research using products provided by the companies, such as compounds and agents in development or approved for investigational use. The Moffitt study will be in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb, with additional assistance from Iovance and Prometheus Laboratories.
Under the leadership of the study's principal investigator Scott J. Antonia, M.D., Ph.D, chair of Moffitt's Thoracic Oncology Department, the phase I study will investigate the use of nivolumab, a targeted immunotherapy drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb, in conjunction with adoptive T cell therapy. During adoptive therapy, a patient's tumor is removed, immune cells found inside the tumor called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are extracted and sent to a lab where they are multiplied using the drug interleukin-2 (IL-2). The TILs, which are essentially cancer killing cells, are then infused back into the patient intravenously to find and destroy the cancer.
"Immunotherapy has changed the way we are treating lung cancer, but there are still opportunities to make these types of therapies even better for patients," said Antonia. "This grant from Stand Up To Cancer is a big step toward accelerating a new therapy that could help the hundreds of thousands of patients diagnosed with this disease each year."
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in males, and the second leading cause of death in females worldwide. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 85 percent of all lung cancer.
The study is currently accruing patients. Antonia and his team would like to enroll 18 participants who will be treated and followed for three years.